Sir, – Further to your editorial on arts funding ("A shallow gesture", October 17th), I wish to make some clarifications, and reaffirm this Government's commitment to the continued increase of arts and culture funding.
First, it should be said that the Creative Ireland programme does not sit in a silo of its own in my department. Rather, it is the new implementation vehicle for arts, culture and creativity as a whole. Through its five pillars, the programme embraces and strengthens our existing cultural output, while also introducing new, targeted initiatives.
Of the €13 million in additional funding I secured for the entire Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht in 2018, I allocated €8.5 million (or 65 per cent) to arts and culture, under the auspices of the Creative Ireland programme.
Of this additional €8.5 million, 35 per cent went to the Arts Council, and I allocated €1.5 million to the Irish Film Board, together with funding boosts for all of our national cultural institutions.
Meanwhile, among other measures, I secured funds for the Creative Children initiative, which is geared towards enabling the creative potential of every child. The Arts Council is a partner in the delivery of that programme, as it is on many other initiatives.
I absolutely respect the autonomy of the Arts Council, and have supported them to the tune of €68 million in 2018. This is almost half of my entire envelope of current funding for culture.
The Taoiseach has said that he will double the overall budget of arts, culture and sport over the next seven years. I am certain that we can meet this target by implementing sustainable increases on an incremental basis between now and 2025 – a process we initiated in Budget 2018, in spite of it being a tight year across the board.
Separately, I also announced €90 million in additional capital funding over the next four years, marking a 50 per cent increase in my capital budget for that period. I will make a further announcement on the 10-year capital plan in due course. These are further signals that the Government is following through on its commitment.
I am more confident than ever that with continued successful collaboration across partners at national, community and voluntary level, the future is bright for creativity in Ireland. – Yours, etc,
Minister for Culture,
Heritage and the Gaeltacht,
Kildare Street, Dublin 2.